My Life In Show Business

In some peoples lives music is inconsequential. Take my father for instance, he’s tone deaf and so to him music is mostly about the words and the story. As a child I was always amused at him singing in church in his flat baritone. Even my wife, although she likes music she would much rather engross herself in the latest episode of ‘House’ or some such medical drama. For her, music is something you listen to at parties or in the car. I am the opposite of that. Music to me is what I think about the most. It is kind of my default thought pattern. I have lots of other interests but the passion level is not even in the same ball park or is it conservatorium.

If I were a single man I would think that I would be somewhat hermit like, living in some isolated shack. There wouldn’t be a phone and there wouldn’t be a television. There would just be music all of the time….and beer. I would go out into my garage and teach myself to build guitars out of exotic woods and inlay them with mother of pearl that I scavenged off of faraway beaches. I would paint oil portraits of my favorite musicians all the while listening to more music. These paintings would be so brilliant that I could sell them at exorbitant prices to fund my newly imagined lifestyle. Mmmmmm…I digress.

The music industry would seem to be a perfect match for someone with my passion but not so, or at least not in anyway that I’ve been able to ascertain. Apparently the music industry was worth 24 billion dollars in 2008 so you’d think there would be room for someone like me. Or not, you see at my age I’ve come to the realization that one important pre-requisite for such a career is unfortunately a modicum or talent. Something that I’m a little light on. Now I can bang out a tune or two on the old geetar but like my father I’m somewhat tone deaf. Not as bad mind you but tone deaf none the less.

My attempts to crack into show biz over the years have included several forays into the world of busking. One time with my son, in toe and a belly full of bravery I asked a busker if I could jam with him – he wisely and politely declined. In disgust, I set up camp on the other side of the road in direct competition – me singing on the guitar and young Ben doing the ‘robot’.  As we went through the repertoire Benny would keep a running commentary on when the opposition had pulled a quid. My lad fondly remembers we blitzed him on that night and we made enough money to buy his next video game. Unfortunately as it turns out you need a license to busk and it’s illegal to exploit your children but that’s another story.

When your tone deaf it’s a handicap to sing but there are two methods that I use to keep myself on song. The first is the instrument you accompany yourself with – I know that it’s accurate so I try to follow as closely as I can. The other tell-tale sign that you’re off key is the funny looks that your audience gives to each other. I know that look well and when I see it I refer back to method one. Some nights I sing OK and on others I bomb. It doesn’t really matter much to me because I like music and I like to sing. There is something therapeutic about singing, like your releasing all your frustrations with each breath and each note. It’s good for the soul.

Now I’m never going to be rich from my musical endeavors but I’m told that artistic types have to suffer for their art; they have to pay their dues. I must be on track then and I’ll be content with that.

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